On December 13, 2007, former US Vice-President Al Gore spoke at the UN Climate Conference in Bali. Once again Mr. Gore chose to attack his home country.
I am not an official and I am not bound by diplomatic niceties. So I am going to speak an inconvenient truth: my own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali
— Al Gore
At the UN Climate Conference
I suppose this is no surprise; Al Gore’s primary shtick is bashing the US. It is sadly also unsurprising that Mr. Gore is once again ignoring some truly inconvenient facts about the usefulness of the Kyoto Protocol:
It would seem reasonable to think that the signatory nations would be doing a better job of curtailing carbon emissions. It would also seem reasonable to think that the US, who won’t even ratify the Kyoto Protocol, would keep emitting CO2 at growth levels much higher than those signatory nations. It would be fallacious to think so.
Data on CO2 emission levels per nation are available from the U.S. Census Bureau. By comparing numbers from 1997 (the year the Kyoto Protocol was agreed upon) and 2004 (the latest year data is available for) we can arrive at the following statistics:
- Emissions worldwide increased 18.0%.
- Emissions from signatory nations increased 21.1%.
- Emissions from non-signatory nations increased 10.0%.
- Emissions from the United States increased 6.6%.
In point of fact United States’ CO2 emissions grew slower than those of over 75% of the Kyoto Protocol’s signatory nations.The Kyoto Protocol isn’t working – except as a vehicle for Al Gore’s ego.
One possible piece of good news for the world is that the Bali talks were aimed at launching negotiations to replace the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012. Hopefully something will be put into place that works this time. Perhaps the UN could start by stripping China and India of their supposed Emerging Nation statuses and applying the Protocol them as well.
- Emission increased from China 55%
- Emission increased from India 27%
Since the fact that these two up and coming commercial and industrial powerhouses wouldn’t be bound by the Kyoto Protocol due to their Emerging Nation status was one of the major reasons for the US’ refusal to ratify the treaty, perhaps that should be the first correction.